Hard surfaces in a room make the sound reflected strongly. A large amount of these reflections come through the mic which can both color and reinforce the pickup’s direct sound.
Surroundings That Are Dead
Sound can be greatly reduced–and even lost–in a room that is extremely sound-absorbent. This is due to their striking ceilings, floors, furnishings, and walls. The microphone may only pick up a few of the reflections, and they are often weak.
An average audience will be using both ears to listen. These two different sounds are compared by their brain, thus creating two separate images of sound for the external world. In this comparison, an impression that is three-dimensional is created using the distance and direction from which the sound comes.
With sound that is ”nonstereo” there is much less sophistication. A mono, or monaural, representation of the sound is created. Direction is lost and the only clue kept is the distance.
When listening to sound that is reproduced mono, distinguishing between reflected and direct sounds is not possible, such as it is when in stereo. They are instead intermixed, creating a ”muddy” sound with little distinction. Reverberation is more noticeable in mono sound.
Careful placement of the microphone is needed when the audience can’t discern distance or direction. This means that:
- Sounds we want aren’t interfered with by extra sounds
- Quiet sounds aren’t masked by loud sounds
- Sound reflections are minimally picked up
This sound is able to build an illusion of dimension and space; it can increase clarity. With stereo, a viewer has a chance to know the locality of the audio. With this ability the audience can get an idea of depth. This is the awareness of sound and visual image in relation to space. With television, stereo sound can have a limited effect because of the spacing of the speakers. The understanding of depth and direction are less noticeable than the realism and quality with this sound.
For simplicity, it is common to have stereo and mono sounds mixed for musical purposes. For microphones that are stereo, attention must be paid to the direction (for instance right mics with right cameras), as well as a still mic, or the sound will be confusing. Reverberation is more pronounced with stereo so footsteps, ventilation, and wind can be more prominent.
When correctly mixed, surround sound provides the sense of being enveloped. As opposed to mono (one channel) and stereo (two channels), surround is 5.1 which gives six individual channels.
There is a center low-frequency effect, subwoofers, left rear and front sounds, and right rear and front sounds. There is an instant effect of realism through direction and depth because of the wide locations of sound. 5.1 is the most popular type of surround-type sound, though currently there is also 7.1 and 6.1, in addition to 22.2 coming out of Japan.